08.09.1944. 325nd FG 319th FS USAAF P-51C Mustang 42-103507 F/O. Rogers
Operation: Ecka Airfield, Yugoslavia
Date: 8th September 1944 (Friday)
Unit: 325th FG, 319th FS, 15th USAAF
Location: Half a mile North West of Ecka Airfield, Yugoslavia
Pilot: F/O. Thomas E. Rogers T-124899 USAAF Age 24. Killed
‘Bata’ Vladimir Agoston, the gentleman who researched this loss, would like to make an appeal for a photograph of the Mustang - prior to its loss. Please contact us and your email will be forwarded.
REASON FOR LOSS:
Shot down by flak during Fighter Sweep on Ecka Airfield. Further details as described by others from the unit in statements made after the operation.
F/O Thomas E. Rogers - newspaper reports (courtesy ‘Bata’ Vladimir Agoston)
Report by Harry G. Schmaltz, 1st. Lt. Air Corps. 325th FG:
‘I was flying No.3 position in No. 2 flight on a strafing mission over Ecka Airdrome, Yugoslavia, on 8th Sept. F/O. Rogers was flying my wing. We flew to the east of the target and made a pass toward the west across the north end of the field. I saw F/O. Rogers behind me and to the right just after I started firing. I was hit with 20mm. shell during my pass and continued away from the field on a course of approximately 2800. About 6 miles from the field, I looked behind and saw a P-51 spin in from approximately 600 feet and explode on hitting the ground. I did not see a chute. I did not fly over the crashed airplane as I had a fair sized hole in my wing and had set course for home. It is my belief that F/O. Rogers was hit by 20mm. Ground fire during the pass on the field, as he was following me and I was hit with 20mm fire.’
The wreckage of Mustang 42-103507 - this was taken from Luftwaffe records at Ecka airfield shortly after the war (courtesy ‘Bata’ Vladimir Agoston)
Report by Harold M. Wilson. Captain, Air Corps. 325th FG:
‘On the mission at 10.00 hrs we hit the target. At about 10.05 hours I went across the field following my flight leader, Capt. Duskin, I was flying his element. When I crossed the west side of the field I observed another P-51 pull up and at about 400-500 feet it rolled over and what appeared to be the pilot bailed out. The P-51 came on straight down into the ground. I was on the deck and so looked forward and after going over a tree looked back but did not see the pilot or chute. The plane went in about a half mile from the west side of the field, right over the river.’
Reconnaissance photo of Ecka taken 8th October, one month after Thomas was shot down, the remains of his P-51 have been circled top left. (‘Bata’ Vladimir Agoston)
Air photos of Ecka Airfield, showing runways and barrack area (courtesy ‘Bata’ Vladimir Agoston)
The wonderful mural painted on the side of the Veterans of Foreign Wars building in Emporium, Pennsylvania, USA. (courtesy ‘Bata’ Vladimir Agoston)
F/O. Thomas E. Rogers. Arlington National Cemetery. Plot Sec 34. Grave 1130. Son of Mr. Edwin J. Rogers and Bessie E. Rogers of West fifth Street, Emporium, Cameron County, Pennsylvania, USA.
His body taken home to the United States on request of his parents. Born December 11th, 1920, enlisted in 1942.
Left: Grave at Arlington National Cemetery (courtesy A. Horan)
With thanks for research and photos to ‘Bata’ Vladimir Agoston who sent them to Aircrew Remembered in January, 2015.
Bata lives in the area, works at Ecka airfield as a aircraft mechanic, very interested in WW2 history, carrying out a great deal of research into losses in his area. Thanks to A. Horan for grave photograph at Arlington National Cemetery.